Investigation: Dr. Jerry Beasley
Dr. Jerry Beasley fact or fiction?
Original letter provided by Paula Inosanto
Commentary by Michael A. Krivka
NOTE: Following are excerpts from a letter written by Paula Inosanto to Curtis F. Wong, Publisher of Inside Kung Fu and Inside Karate. The letter is well over 5 pages long and deals with articles, commentary and letters concerning Guro Dan, Jun Fan Gung Fu and JKD Concepts. I (Mike Krivka) have condensed the letter, to highlight some important passages, and have made notations to clarify information or to identify certain individuals...
Dan has been involved in the martial arts for over 40 years, the last 20 have been devoted largely to carrying on the arts of Jun Fan Gung Fu and Jeet Kune Do Concepts, as mandated by his Sifu Bruce Lee. As I am sure you will agree Dan's skill, reputation and credentials in the martial arts are above reproach.
[In reference to a recent article in Inside Kung Fu ...] I have included an excerpt from Si Gung [Grandfather or your teachers instructor...] Lee's notes, "The Martial Way", from his original "Tao of Jeet Kune Do". Please note that the excerpt on Pentjak Silat is in Si Gung Lee's own handwriting. This passage on Pentjak Silat clearly shows that he did in fact investigate the art, as he did every art that he came across. To quote someone such as Fran Joseph [A student of Jerry Poteet ...] on what Si Gung Lee would, or would not have investigated or studied is completely irresponsible.
Perhaps I should explain how the Jun Fan Gung Fu Institute was run. Dan taught 90% of all the classes, with the remaining 10% of the classes being taught by Si Gung Lee himself. At the time the institute was founded in 1967, Dan had already been Si Gung Lee's constant training partner, student and close friend for three years. In addition he was already a certified instructor in Si Gung Lee's three arts: The Tao of Chinese Martial Arts, Jun Fan Gung Fu and Jeet Kune Do. When the school opened Dan invited his Kenpo students (Jerry Poteet, Pete Jacobs, Daniel Lee, Steve Golden, Larry Hartsell, etc ...) to train under him at the Jun Fan Gung Fu Institute.
[In reference to Jerry Poteet's training with Si Gung Lee ...] ... Jerry Poteet's actual training time during the Chinatown era was less than ten months, and his attendance was not consistent during that time. In fact, the vast majority of Jerry's training in the arts took place after Si Gung Lee's death, when Dan accelerated Jerry's training schedule to help him "catch up".
After the death of Si Gung Lee, several of Dan's students were promoted to the status of "Instructor". It was Dan, not Si Gung Lee, who promoted Jerry Poteet, Daniel Lee, Ted Wong, Richard Bustillo, Larry Hartsell, Steve Golden, etc to "Instructor" rank.
[In reference to the many JKD "experts" being published in Inside Kung Fu and Inside Karate ...]
As for Dr. Jerry Beasley [A professor at Radford University in Virginia ...], he is neither qualified nor certified, and has apparently proclaimed himself an authority on a subject which he knows close to nothing. Dr. Beasley is not a trained practitioner in the arts of Si Gung Lee. To the best of our knowledge, he attended less than a handful of seminars, during which time he would merely observe and take notes. He is an "armchair" Jun Fan / JKD fraud. He misrepresents the facts and misleads the public. It is a shame the press lends space to promoting this type of individual. [Not to mention the fact that he is currently teaching a class in Kali at Radford University ... another art which he is not qualified or certified to teach.]
Gary Dill [A student of the late James Lee, who was not certified by Sifu James Lee to teach Jun Fan Gung Fu or JKD ...] is yet another example of someone trying to "cash-in" on the late Si Gung Lee's name, and who, like the others, is without the proper credentials or qualifications
Lamar Davis [An extremely prolific student of Gary Dills ...] is another unqualified and uncertified individual who like Dr. Beasley, is merely capitalizing on the name of Si Gung Lee.
Contrary to what is often stated in articles appearing in your magazines Dan teaches the Original Jeet Kune Do. He is truly the only individual that knows the roots, techniques, principles and concepts of the arts developed and taught by Si Gung Lee. Dan however, will always recognize Taky Kimura as his senior and fellow instructor, along with the late James Lee.
Dan continues to train a core group of lineage instructor in the arts of Si Gung Lee, not only here in Los Angeles, but in various locations around the world. Dan has done what Si Gung Lee desired of him: to continue exploring the concepts and ideas of the martial arts as developed and taught by Si Gung Lee. What Dan has not done is sold out. He has not commercialized, mass-marketed, prostituted or capitalized on Si Gung Lee, the man or the martial artist. Dan has never charged the instructors under him in Jun Fan or JKD for private lessons and he has never charged anyone to join an association or society. Dan has never "sold" instructorships.
Dan has kept the art, philosophy, teachings and techniques of Si Gung Lee alive, true to form (and integrity), as well as protected and preserved for the future. There is no one alive today, with the exception of Si Bak Taky Kimura, who can stand in judgment of the job that Dan has done.
And the response of Jerry Beasley to Michael Krivka.
Backlash - Part 3
by Michael A. Krivka
NOTE: Following is the final response to the publication of Paula Inosanto's letter in the November '93 newsletter. This month we we'll examine Dr. Jerry Beasley's heated response to her comments as well as his personal attack against me. Next month, in the final installment of "Backlash", I'll summarize the current situation and future actions to curb these "cowboys". Dr. Jerry Beasley
Dr. Jerry Beasley (Dr. B) is the author of 2(+) books and more than 40(+) articles on Jeet Kune Do and is "a recognized authority" on the subject.
In numerous articles Dr. B states that he trained in JKD and Kali with Guro Dan Inosanto over a five year period (1983-1988). According to Dan and Paula Inosanto, they did see Dr. B in attendance at several seminars and camps. But they are both quick to point out that Dr. B was there taking notes and that they never once saw him train. [Sitting on the sidelines of a seminar and taking notes is not what most consider a valid method of "experiencing" a training method or system.]
Where does Dr. B get the vast amounts of information that he writes about concerning JKD? Well, as of January 1993 he was given authorization to teach "JKD Fighting Principles and Strategies" by Joe Lewis, a student of Bruce Lee's and world class kick boxer in the 70's. This certification was given with the following stipulation: "Remember, as I maintain my respect for Bruce Lee, you must maintain respect for his art as he left it." [Looks like he has already broken that promise ...]
In response to my questions concerning his training, background and use/abuse of the term JKD, Dr. B has responded with several letters. Threatening physical violence [using words unbecoming a college professor] and legal action [nice try], he has demanded that I publicly apologize for the commentary made in this newsletter.
Consider the following as an "apology": Having been unable to distinguish yourself through other means, you "drop" the names of people who have dedicated their lives to the development and propagation of the martial arts. I find your abuse of the curiosity and relative ignorance of the general martial arts community [in regards to Bruce Lee's art] to be reprehensible and self-serving.
Regarding Mr. Lewis I have always, and will continue to have, the greatest respect for his ability as a martial artist and fighter. I can only hope that his name will not be tarnished by his association with you.
I am looking forward to that "personal JKD lesson" that you are so anxious to give me ...
Jerry Beasley has devoted 30 years to developing a world-renowned martial arts program at RU that is the only one of its kind in the United States.
“I walked into his office the spring of 1973 and described my idea,” Beasley said. “Dr. Dedmon was very considerate and interested. He talked to me for about 10 to 15 minutes and walked me down to Vice President for Academic Affairs David Moore’s office.” Moore was also interested and introduced Beasley to the athletic director and head of the physical education department. Beasley put together a syllabus and was ready for business within a few months. Thinking that he was lucky to be hired as an instructor and have one karate class to teach during spring semester, Beasley was surprised when Moore called him on registration day and asked if he could teach two courses. Registration opened in the morning and the first class was full within a couple of hours. “That day I knew that I would still be here 30 years later,” says Beasley.
The Christiansburg native earned his first black belt in 1971 at 20 years old and later earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from Virginia Tech. He has written five books, 110 articles and is featured in a martial arts video distributed worldwide. Beasley is a regular contributor to martial arts magazines such as Black Belt and was inducted into Black Belt Hall of Fame as the 2000 Instructor of the Year. He is featured on the cover of several magazines including Black Belt and a martial arts publication in Iran. He is now a 9th degree black belt and a leading expert and consultant in the field.
And it appeals to students. It’s difficult to enroll in his classes because they fill up quickly. In four years at RU, students can attain a black belt along with a bachelor’s degree. Several of Beasley’s students have been pictured on the cover of various martial arts magazines. Graduates from the martial arts option have been hired by the FBI, started their own karate schools or fitness clubs and became high school teachers.
Beasley has definitely put himself and RU on the map. His Karate College martial arts summer camp on campus brings in about 400 people from across the country and Asia, Europe, South America and Canada. Karate champions and world-renowned instructors such as Joe Lewis, Bill Wallace, Michael DePasquale and Renzo Gracie provide workshops and seminars in all areas of martial arts.
Beasley has helped set up a Middle East project to give orphans an opportunity to learn martial arts. “Martial arts instruction is good for children,” he says. “It teaches discipline and respect. Those students who don’t get any respect except in gangs are able to get respect in inner city karate programs.”
Beasley’s describes his martial arts program as “multicultural” and says it combines self-defense styles and theories from the Philippines, China, Japan and Korea and promotes understanding of technique within a cultural context.
Martial arts is Beasley’s passion, and it’s also his service. “I want to take away stress or anxiety in a situation of conflict or violence. I knew from the beginning that there would always be a need for that concept of self-defense,” says Beasley. “That is my service – to give victims some self confidence.”
Dr. Jerry Beasley' explanation
Saw the thread. I stop in every now and then.
I am not a JKD instructor but you may have heard my name associated with JKD. I am a martial arts teacher true but my connection to JKD has been as a writer and promoter. I published the first article on Larry Hartsell's Charlotte NC JKD club for Official Karate back in 1983 and the first book on Danny Inosanto's JKD concepts method back in 1988. I introduced the JKD: The Next Generation column for Karate International magazine that same year to promote the JKD concepts method. In the column I introduced Dan, Larry, Timmy Tacket, Lamar Davis, Gary Dill, Chris Kent and quite a few of the household JKD names. I found that many of my readers were interested in the Bruce Lee material rather than the FMA info so in 1989 I coined the term "Original JKD" to distinguish the Bruce Lee method from the concepts. Seemed harmless enough at the time. But as I found out later it closed all doors to me from the concepts group. Some are still mad! In fact all sorts of stories were made up about me taping material. Never happened. I am a college professor and researcher by trade. I was able to use those tools to write my own definition about the various catchy JKD phrases like "using no way as way" and "to float in totality". In fact a lot of JKDers use my "Matrix" idea to explain JKD. You can find some of the articles at www.mawn.net and www.aikia.net.
As you may recall 1993 was a pivotal year in JKD. The Dragon/Bruce Lee Story was out and JKD was the most popular martial art of the day. Taky Kimura, Ted Wong and Howard Williams agreed to work for me at the first "Original JKD" summer camp in '93. Because of the widespread attention to the original JKD art the battel grouns were drawn. From that year on it's been Original versus the JKD 'Concept". They say the pen is mightier than the sword and in this case it proved very true. I tried to write articles to convince readers that JKD concepts and original JKD are the same. Didn't work. Some West Coast groups countered with still another new "Jun Fan jeet kune do" saying that jun fan was the "Original" version of JKD. Good stuff.
Here's my opinion. Bruce Lee, like all instructors taught different things to different students based on their ability to absorb the instruction. To the fighters he taught fighting, to the teachers he taught teaching and to the beginners he taught a basic art. No wonder many of Bruce's students ended up claiming that their version of what Bruce taught them was the correct method. And each one of them is right. JKD is for some an art, for others a philosophy. It can be both.
Unfortunately we have many versions of JKD and that is the precise reason that everyone gets to pick their own favorites. Enjoy each one. They all have something to offer. If someone tells you that they have the only "real" version and everyone else is wrong then you may want to stay away from that group/individual. Other than that have fun. When you discover what JKD means to you then you are on the path to self discovery...and that is what Bruce wanted you to do.
I know the question always comes up "how do I learn JKD?" Best bet is to go to an instructor or to JKD seminars. Videos are fine for checking your progress. If you are doing something that looks like what they are doing on the tape go for it. If you are alone get a buddy, you can't do this alone, and invest in some quality boxing gloves, head gear and mouth peice and learn to spar. JKD is in the mobility, the foot work and the strategy. David Cheng has a great book out on JKD Basics (Tuttle) let that be your guide. Get in shape and spar ( I prefer the term spar rather than the macho "fight").
Good luck. Be safe.
Jeet Kune Do Scientific Street Fighting Fundamental JKD Combat Skills Video with Jerry Beasley DRB1
Some interesting reading on the subject of Dr. Beasley. Here is a brief glimpse.
I have known Jerry Beasley for a long time, and he is a knowledgable and intelligent communicator and researcher. He is not, however, a certified JKD Instructor. Neither, for that matter, is Joe Lewis, the man under whom Jerry trained in what he has called JKD. I know that Dr. Beasley has been to numerous seminars with JKD instructors like Dan Inosanto and Larry Hartsell, but to those who have seen the way those seminars compare to Dan's classes and private instruction, it is easy to confirm that seminar instruction and conversations are not enough. I think it's great that Jerry has brought so much attention to JKD lately (meaning in the last few years, but I can't help thinking that his outlook and even perspective on what Jeet Kune Do really is might be a little off base. I know he's written books and produced videos. But the best way to decide is to look at how and where he got his material. Look at the history of what he's taught. See if that's in line with what you are looking for, and go from there. Best Wishes,
Nature is ruled by the redness of fang and claw...
04-18-2005, 07:47 AM
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Plum Flower Fist
Join Date: Jan 1970
Originally Posted by Aikia
.... .No person ever received a certificate from Bruce Lee stating that the person on the certificate was designated as Instructor of JKD....I have been a student under Joe Lewis since 1982 and been certified to teach JKD by Joe Lewis (1993)....
How then can you claim to have been "certified to teach JKD by Joe Lewis, when in fact Joe Lewis himself is not certified to teach it? And in fact he only studied with Bruce for less than a year which certainly not qualify him to teach ANY style of martial art. I don't have a problem with Dan Inosanto or Jerry Poteet or any of Bruce's other original students writing books or producing videos, because they were with him for a great lenght of time. But when Joe Lewis (or even worse, the number of "instructors" who never met Bruce at all much less studied under him) try to cash in on Bruce's name, it only serves to make them look like snake oil salesmen.
Dr. Beasley's Web page discussing his many accomplishments.
Concepts. I (Mike Krivka) have condensed the letter, to highlight some important passages, and have made notations to clarify...
So who is Mike krivka? Anybody can sling mud.
from AIKIA website:
About the certificate: This 1984 certificate from the Filipino Kali Academy and Jun Fan Gung Fu Academy of Los Angeles, was awarded at the completion of a seven day camp promoted by Fred Degerberg and held at the Degerberg Institute in Chicago IL. What is significant about the certificate is the use of the word “jeet kune do”. Most critics claim that Dan Inosanto never taught or authorized the inclusion of the term “jeet kune do” when awarding seminar certificates. We believe that the secretary at the Degerberg Academy simply typed in the names , hours, dates and arts for the 50 plus certificates of completion awarded at the end of the camp.. Mr.Inosanto was then given the certificates which he signed and personally handed to each camp graduate. These modern day critics claim that Dan only authorized “Jun Fan” or “JKD concepts” when recognizing the Bruce Lee inspired art. At this particular seminar the above named participant trained in the same kali class as Paula Pederson and her then boyfriend Nate Desensor both of Chicago, IL. Paula, later married Dan Inosanto . In 1998 Paula Pederson Inosanto along with fellow Gaithersburg, Maryland instructor Michael Krivka (Martial Arts Koncepts) were identified for publishing” false, damaging and libelous information” against participants in the “Original JKD” movement. The certificate was used to disprove their contention. A court date was never set. The results of the Michael Krivka/Paula Inosanto alliance continues to be a topic of many internet forums and chat rooms.
Last edited by Japan Junkie; 1/02/2008 8:49am at .
I think there's something to be said if he can prove that he trained with Inosanto, as is obvious here.
So is the rift within the JKD community still alive?